For the Ministry of the Interior, the Ocean Viking was an opportunity for France to demonstrate its effectiveness on the migratory side. Missed ! Releases by the courts, untraceable unaccompanied minors, a hundred survivors refused on the territory… The French management of the migrants from the Ocean Viking is turning into “carnage”, a situation “out of control” for the opposition, while the executive attacks Italy. Since the humanitarian ship chartered by SOS Méditerranée docked in Toulon on Friday November 11, after a diplomatic tug of war which deteriorated Franco-Italian relations and reignited a controversy in France over immigration, the 234 survivors have been placed in a vacation center in the Var. This was transformed into an international “waiting zone” from which they could not in theory leave.
But a week later, this strategy seems to be shattered under the impact of court decisions, unexpected departures from reception centers for minors and the imbroglio around expulsions. The 189 adults placed in the waiting area located on the Giens peninsula, in Hyères, were all interviewed by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra), which was to determine the merits of their request for asylum so that they are officially admitted to the territory.
At the same time, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal announced on Friday that it had validated the release of “almost all, even all” of the 108 survivors who demanded that they no longer be locked up. “I refused their placement in jails because they are not delinquents”, specifies in World Renaud Le Breton de Vannoise, first president of the court of appeal, who piloted a general mobilization of his jurisdiction to meet the deadlines.
The French asylum agency has also “issued 66 opinions in favor of admission to the territory”, said Charles-Edouard Minet, deputy director of legal advice and litigation at the ministry, during the hearing at the Council. of State devoted to the relevance of the confinement zone created by the authorities.
These people “will be able to be relocated” to the eleven European countries (including Germany, Finland or Portugal) which had volunteered to welcome them after their landing in France, Place Beauvau told AFP. For their part, the associations on site remain on their guard: “Our vigilance will also focus on the effectiveness of the right of people to file their asylum applications”, declared La Cimade.
The Ofpra has issued “123 unfavorable opinions” and the persons concerned “are the subject of a refusal to enter the territory”, indicated Friday before the Council of State a representative of the Ministry of the Interior. Asked, the latter did not indicate whether this refusal would lead to an expulsion procedure. Earlier this week, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that at least 44 people who had received an unfavorable opinion would be “deported” to their country of origin, as soon as their health permitted.
“More than a dozen other migrants, deemed ineligible by the Ofpra but whose justice demanded their release, would also have been taken to these centers and can now start an asylum application procedure”, advances the daily. of the world. The situation “is changing from minute to minute”, admitted the ministry before the Council of State, to such an extent that the government estimated at twelve the number of migrants still in the center, Friday afternoon.
However, some organizations denounce the expeditious nature of the procedure and point to numerous violations of the right to asylum in the course of the interviews administered by the Ofpra. “The people rescued by the Ocean Viking are victims of violations of their fundamental rights in this place of confinement which has nothing to do with a holiday village: violations of the right to asylum, people wearing bracelets with number, absence interpretation, lack of effective psychological follow-up, no telephones available and no visits from relatives, no access to a lawyer or an association for the defense of rights”, indignantly the National Association for Border Assistance for foreigners, in a press release dated November 15.
Also, 26 unaccompanied minors out of the 44 rescued have already left the reception facilities made available by the Var Departmental Council. These are children without parents, and who now find themselves on the street without resources or housing. “Emmanuel Macron and Gérald Darmanin have their ‘Leonarda affair’. Our government is humiliated by the flight of 26 ‘minors’ from the Ocean Viking and the French see, once again, that all of this is out of control”, said deplored the RN candidate for the last presidential election, Marine Le Pen, in allusion to the management under François Hollande of the expulsion of a Roma schoolgirl.